After a long, eventless five days walk, we finally reached the outskirts of the Forest of Gaon.
I may say eventless, but it simply means that there wasn’t anything interesting or extraordinary that happened. During the night, after we have found a place to rest, we begin our combat sparring with each another until either of us becomes too tired to move.
To put it in another way, we trained until Asellus can’t even move a single muscle. After all, I’m still physically tougher than her even after her second [Absorption], and she still have yet to adapt and adjust to her enhanced level of abilities.
Even though she’s now stronger than before, I can still handle her easily as she’s still incapability of controlling and wielding her new-found strength yet. However, with each passing day of sparring, Asellus gets more and more capable of fighting with me, even when I’m not holding back.
For training purposes, Eva transforms into a blunted axe so that I won’t accidentally slice Asellus into half (which made her slightly upset because it hurts her pride as a top-class artefact to have to deliberately blunt the weapon she constructed.)
However, even with the weapon in hand and me not holding back anyone with my attacks, by day seven Asellus has almost already matched up against me one on one. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that, if she has full control over her current might, she’ll be able to hold her own against any of the [Six Pillars].
At least, I imagine that if the past Ogre Lord me have to fight her as a foe, I’ll definitely feel somewhat threatened and possibly not win without some sort of significant injuries here and there.
After absorbing Wourein, she seems to have a much better reaction time than before. Combining that with her kinetic vision, and she can almost evade all my attacks and dish out a mean, accurate blow in return!
In fact, most of the time my attacks fail to hit her, and the times I do is either when she’s careless or when she’s already tired from the sparring. She reacts fast enough (often) to feints, despite being catch by them!
She’ll be a formidable ally, if she successfully achieve her goals and fulfills her promise to me.
By the end of the five days trip, we finally took the first step into the forest of Gaon. According to what Asellus mentioned, the forest of Gaon is the outskirts of Mystic lands and one will be able to see the castle which Vergil stays within.
Asellus wants to rush through the forest and get back to Mystic lands quickly to deal with Vergil, but I advised her against it. After all, she doesn’t have full control over her strength yet and if she cannot even defeat me, her chances of defeating Vergil is rather slim.
Moreover, for my own revenge plan against Del’thrush to have a higher success rate, I need Asellus to be alive, not defeated by Vergil. There is no meaning in rushing to fight Vergil if it means her doom. Unless she can compete against me equally, it is simply too risky for her to challenge Vergil.
“But Vergil doesn’t know that I have gained such a power-up, right? Surely that is some form of surprise factor that I can take tactical advantage of.” (Asellus)
“That’s true, but can you guarantee that once you reveal that advantage of yours, you’ll be able to take him out? Surprise tactics only work once, you know. Once revealed, he’ll see you as a definite threat and take you out with full force.” (Gideon)
“Will he? I mean, he’s quite the arrogant type…” (Asellus)
“Well yes he is, but he’s smart and crafty. If my guess is correct, you’re now the next strongest after Vergil, and the difference in strength between the two of you isn’t that big. Except for you, no one can threaten his position and if he knows you can do so, he’ll spare no effort in making sure of your death.” (Gideon)
Asellus gulped, after hearing what I’ve just said to her. Apparently, she haven’t been thinking too much of the current situation, unfortunately.
“So that means that if you want to reveal your true strength, you’ll need to be able to finish him off at that very moment. Otherwise, he’ll see you as an equal threat and get rid of you with full force.” (Gideon)
Evidently, my words of warning have been effective. At least, she is less willing to rush over to her doom now.
“With that being said, over the past few days your strength is growing at a ridiculous pace. Perhaps after another month of training, you’ll finally be able to get your revenge.” (Gideon)
“I certainly hope so…I can feel that my speed of improvement has been declining steadily.” (Asellus)
“That is but of course! Do you really think that you can sustain such a ridiculous pace of improvement? If not for the fact that your [Absorption] is the Werewolf Lord, you would have adapted and adjusted to your growth by now!” (Gideon)
“Well, all I have to do is to train more, right? That’s no problem to me!” (Asellus)
With that, we proceeded into the Forest of Gaon. Within the forest, our first objective is to get to make a hideout. We’ll need to stay in this forest for a period of time, and also to avoid detection of other Mystics that may enter the forest as well, since this is a very common area for Mystics to come into for training and [Absorption] purposes.
We had quite a number of provisions that we bought in the City of Alst, and had no need to hunt for food. Hence, we landed on the decision to engage in sparring sessions for the first few days. In fact, we did almost nothing but spar throughout the entire day, only stopping for rest in-between when we’re eating or sleeping.
Asellus’s ability to adapt to her newly found strength is nothing short of a miraculous event. In just a short span of ten days in total, she has nearly synchronized her movements and motion to an extremely high level. In fact, she has nearly rid herself of useless motions and every attack is swift, sharp and accurate. I’m starting to think that she might be a natural borne combatant.
It may be quite wrong to even think of this, but if not for Vergil slaughtering Asellus’s parents, she’ll probably never unlock this part of her natural talent…
During the tenth day, we finally ran out of our last morsel of food. In this huge forest however, provision are but a simple matter to acquire, considering our speed and strength. I am in charge of getting hold of water, while Asellus will hunt for prey as part of her training as well. I also specifically ask her to find stronger prey to hunt and capture alive.
After all, her combat capability may be great, but her combat experience is still rather lacking. Within this short span of time, the amount of training I can drill into her is limited. Therefore, by raising the difficulty level for her to hunt and capture a monster alive will still prove to be quite a reasonable level of hardship for her to do.
For the next few days, as her length training period declines from finding food, her overall growth in combat is visibly lowered. However, it is still considered unreasonably fast when compared to normal human beings or other demons. Even my own training progress at my peak cannot be compared to hers. It’s simply terrifying, yet assuring since she’ll be fighting alongside me, and not against me.
I pity those who have to fight against her in the future; Asellus won’t be a figure easy to trifle with. It is not even an exaggeration to mention that she’ll be the strongest Mystic that is ever born, a title that has once only been dominated by the most pure-blooded male Mystics.
Yet, how many of those Mystics, who claims to be the strongest, has the chance of procuring a member of the [Six Pillars] or someone of that strength as an [Absorption] material?
The fifteenth day arrives, counting since the day we step foot into the Forest of Gaon. Even though this is an extremely huge forest, we didn’t even spot a single Mystic until now. By now, even if we aren’t spotted, surely we’ll have seen one or two of them. I rolled out from the bed while thinking about random matters such as this.
Even though I call it a bed, it’s merely layers of sticks and soft grass piled up together. It works just as well as any normal bed, so no complaints here. Even Asellus has no complains with such a lifestyle, and she’s considered royalty, so who am I to complain?
I got up and try to look for Asellus, but she’s already up and about, training by herself a few tens of meters away. Recently, she has put on an almost permanent scowl on her face because I always triumph over her day after day, even after her intensive training and is putting even more effort in training every day.
What she didn’t realize is that I’m already forced to use more than ninety percent of my full strength to suppress hers, while putting on a facade that she still has a long way to go before catching up to me, in order to keep her training momentum high and that she’ll push herself more.
I walk up to her. It’s becoming a daily routine now for us to begin a new day with sparring. She turns around to look at me, surprising, with a smile on her face. Also, her entire body posture shows an eagerness to start fighting immediately.
“Hey, you’re awake! Alright, let’s begin our usual training, okay?” (Asellus)
Something’s fishy…she’s always ready for training but she’s never THIS eager to start training. Hmm, what is she up to today? I trust her enough that she won’t act against me, but her actions are quite suspicious nonetheless.
(Maybe she figured out how to use a new technique or something? Knowing her, she’ll probably try to surprise you with a new attack and see how it works out?) (Eva)
That sounds rather possible. So, she’s treating me as a “test-subject” before her fight with Vergil, huh? Very well then, I’ll rather curious of what she can dish out this time!
“Alright, same old rules then; we fight until either of us cannot continue anymore.” (Gideon)
Feigning ignorance, the both of us walk twenty paces away and took our places, prepared for our fight.
In a second, a silver Greataxe extends out of my axe and I take a defensive stance, preparing myself for any form of attack that she’ll come over at me. As usual, her first motion will be to rush towards her opponent, that is, me. A terrible opening for anyone else executing it, but with her superior kinetic vision and reaction speed, it’s the most ideal move for a one-trick pony like her.
Just after a brief moment of seconds, she has already covered the short forty paces that separate the both of us.
Her fists fly over, blow after blow in rapid succession. Compared to the first time I witness her attack, it’s practically the difference of heaven and earth! Before, her attacks were fast, but predictable and extremely telegraphed. Any powerhouse will be able to dodge her attacks with ease after experiencing once.
Now, not only are her punches faster and sharper than ever but also carries an air of unpredictability, making use of her reaction speed to adjust the direction her thrown punches, a feat that I doubt I’ll ever accomplish.
With such a terrifyingly fast attack rate, I’m always forced to stay on the defensive during the first part of the battle, moving backwards and about to get rid further away, to the ideal range where my Greataxe is most effective before striking at her.
I can never land a proper, clean strike at her as she’s too nimble, dodging most of my attacks. In the aspect of speed, she has already surpassed me. Only in strength and endurance do I hold the advantage of the fight.
Even if I somehow get a glancing blow on her, the injury will heal up in a matter of seconds due to her [Absorption] of Wourein, which grants her a significant portion of his regenerative capabilities. A frightening ability in the hands of one that’s already so difficult to land a hit on.
I can safely say that in the first half of the battle, she’s absolutely unconquerable one-on-one, be it against [Heroes] or any members of the [Six Pillars]. If there’s any fault of hers, it would be that she shares the same weakness with me, of having no long ranged attacks.
For the past fifteen days, this has been a normal routine of ours, attacking and dodging and attacking. But today, I can feel that something’s different; that’s she has something else up her sleeves.
Then, just when I thought she’ll move in again with a rush of strikes once again, I try to hit her with an uppercut slash. She moves back instead after rushing forward two steps.
She baited me into attacking, but moved back? Why? She can’t attack me from that range, and it just gives me the advantage as I have the longer range of attack.
The entire description might seem long, but this happened in a span of less than a second. Mid-swing, and she’s already far out of my range of attack. Then, she did the one move that I dread – with her tiger-like claws, she scratches into her left arm with a quick motion and wisps of red gas drifts out of her now-injured arm.
Hearing that declaration of hers, I raise my concentration to its limits; I can’t afford to do anything lesser than that! At the same time, I prepare myself to use the full extent of all my capabilities, as though as I’m fighting against Wourein in a life-or-death battle.
(Oh ho, so she has kept that skill secret from you. Try your hardest to defend against that, master! Do you want me to assist you as well?) (Eva)
(Only help if you think that my life is in mortal peril.) (Gideon)
(As you wish, master.) (Eva)
As I complete my uppercut swing, Asellus has already rushed forward, almost twice as fast as before. For the first time ever, I used [Burst Stream] to move away from the incoming danger, with a powerful explosion of mana propelling me away from a one-armed flurry of strikes.
That was too close for comfort! I got a brief second of an opening, from Asellus’s surprise from seeing me use [Burst Stream] against her for the first time during our sparring sessions. I make use of the opening to launch a quick and fast strike towards her neck, boosted with the explosive speed of [Burst Stream].
She dodges my strike by arching backwards. Even with my fastest attack, I can’t land a hit on her current state?
Author : Kiribou